Recently an abuse survivor made a very insightful comment. She said that she could always tell when her abuser (a professing Christian) was receiving support from a Christian. How? He stepped up the intensity of his abuse. She said that while non-Christian support for him would certainly encourage him in his wickedness, her suffering at his hands increased the most when professing Christians sided with him. This is very sobering.
Right on through Scripture, any desire to return to bondage and slavery is treated as foolish and even sinful.
And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD, and the fire died down. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them. Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” (Numbers 11:1-6)
They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:1-3)
The Israelites grumbled. The Lord had done wonderful things for them by His might and power, delivering them from the harsh life in Egypt. But when the going got even a little difficult, the grumbling began. They longed for Egypt. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Abuse victims want freedom. They are enslaved and oppressed by their own personal “pharaoh” and once they begin to see just what is happening to them, they yearn for liberty.
Freedom and liberty in Scripture are good things. It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Don’t let anyone trick you into returning to bondage. That is what the Bible says.
So why do so many pastors, churches, counselors, and individual Christians teach the opposite when it comes to abuse? What do I mean? The standard line — you all know it far too well — given to an abuse victim in a church is “Go back to Egypt. Go back. Return. Be enslaved. Submit to it. You’ve got a contract with pharaoh and it can’t be broken.” So the abused ones go back. And the abuse intensifies —
So the taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. Go and get your straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced in the least.’” So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. (Exodus 5:10-12)
Why? Why is it that there are myriads of “freedom” programs (aka “ministries”) allegedly under the banner of Christ, offering liberty to captives — but not to abuse victims? “Come on, you can be free from slavery to overeating. You can be free of addictions. Here is how you can get free of co-dependency.” And on and on and on. But abuse victims? Forget it.
Think it through. How many ministries are in professing Christian churches specifically designed to set abuse victims free? You are going to have to search high and low to find one. Oh, but go looking for “ministries” (quotation marks here indicate my sarcasm) that put victims back into bondage in Egypt and you will find them all over the place. “Come on down and we will fix your marriage. Don’t even think about divorce. We will show you how to live happily ever after….with Pharaoh.” Am I right? Of course I’m right. Because all of this is true.
Christ redeems His people. That means He sets us free. That is why He came and went to the cross. Anyone telling you to stay in Egypt is not of Christ no matter how “Christian” they might appear.
1 Kings 19:9-10 ESV There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (10) He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away…. 19:18 ESV (18) Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
In these days it is easy for Christians to become Elijahs, thinking that we are the only ones left who are faithful to the Lord, that soon there will be none left as the enemies of Christ seem to be so successful at eradicating faith from the earth. We have had many discussions on this blog about this very subject. The leaven of the Pharisees appears to have spread like a plague through the churches. Many of our readers who have been treated so miserably by their pastors and churches find themselves “outside the camp” and so traumatized that they are unable to return to a local church. They don’t want this to be so. At least, that is my take on it. They would love to be in a real church where Christ’s people have heeded the Lord Jesus’ words to go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. But, alas, where is such a church to be found?
Well, in all of this we must not despair. Christ loves His Bride. The Body of Christ survives today and always will. God has always preserved His remnant and indeed it is the remnant, as it turns out, that is the true church anyway!
Romans 9:25-27 ESV As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” (26) “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” (27) And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,
The true church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a church that we can all love. It is here and it is there. It exists, very often, within a visible and local church. At other times it has been cast out of the visible temple by the Pharisees, but it is always there. And, like “birds of a feather,” its members inevitably and through all kinds of means find one another.
Last month we brought to your attention an immediate need of one of our readers regarding an unexpected tax bill. (Links to the original post and the update posts – first and final – are here for those of you who didn’t see those posts.) That need was met in only nine days. What a blessing your outpouring was to her. For safety reasons the abuse survivor needs to remain anonymous, but she wanted to express her gratitude so we putting it as a stand alone post so that as many as possible have a chance to see it.
I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who participated in praying or giving toward the payment of my taxes this year. I am amazed at how God continues to provide for me in ways beyond anything I could expect or imagine. When I first began praying about this with my close friend, she reminded me that nothing is impossible for God. The struggles I face can be stressful and exasperating at times, but I also know that they cause me to have to rely on faith in God for my situation, more all the time, and that actually feels good to me to watch all the ways He cares for His own.
I am praying God will return to all of you a one hundred fold blessing for your care and generosity and for His hand to meet every need you have in your life. My love and prayers are with you, always. May your celebration of Easter this year hold great blessing for all of you.
Exodus 22:22 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.
Deuteronomy 10:17-18 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. (18) He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.
Psalms 94:6 They kill the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless;
James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
These few verses are just a small sampling of many others found in Scripture that repeat the very same theme – God commands us to render justice for and give care to the helpless and weak. Orphans and widows are prime examples. I would like to suggest to you that the victim of abuse classifies as a widow, and therefore the Lord expects us to provide her with justice and protection. Why do we call her a widow? Because her husband really is no husband. He is an oppressor and tormentor. Often, she is a “widow indeed” because her abuser has successfully alienated the rest of her family from her.
Psa 68:4-5 Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD; exult before him! (5) Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
As of today, we have received $1602.00 in donations to cover the $1540.00 unexpected tax bill owed by an abuse survivor. We orginally posted the request on March 21st, so in only nine days the need was met in full. This is not only a huge blessing to our friend in need, it is very exciting for the rest of us as well.
Many thanks to all of you for praying and for giving. On occasion I am sure we will have opportunity to share similar requests with you all again.
Original post: Opportunity to Help an Abuse Survivor in Need
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” (17) The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; (18) for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” John 4:16-18
Ok, this is a dangerous subject. It’s dangerous because I run a real risk of being misunderstood, having an unmerciful and uncaring attitude toward victims of abuse. Some readers might think that I am in company with the old school of thinking that a rape victim “brought it on herself.” I hope that isn’t true, but then I’m not infallible. With that said, let me just state my thesis –
“If we obey God’s Word, especially His commandments regarding sex and marriage, we go a long way in protecting ourselves from the abuser. Conversely, when we violate God’s commandments, we make ourselves very vulnerable to the tactics and deceptions of an abusive person.”
As I read victim’s stories, with some regularity I notice that their initial relationship with the abuser broke the instructions of God’s Word about sex and marriage. NOT always and perhaps for Christian victims, perhaps not even that frequently. For any victims reading this article, I remind all of us of God’s forgiveness and grace in Christ for all who believe in Christ and repent of going their own way. Christ does not intend for us to be weighed down forever by the load of our past sins and foolishness.